–We made money last season! 8 million Euros to the good, to be precise. Between all the prize booty, exhibitions, etc, our beloved club finished with a profit. An actual, true-to-life profit.
–In the “ex Barca” file, Harry Redknapp has him some Monument. Our own Eidur Gudjohnsen has a home in Tottenham. Yay! It’s a loan deal, but it’s expected that he will be able to stay. Monument should do quite well in the Premiership, as he shone with Chelsea.
This one is going to be a quickie, folks, because I have the preview to write as well, so apologies in advance if I miss anything of importance in the FCB news world.
-First, Messi. You’re all probably interested in whether or not our little Messias will be able to play tomorrow against Inter. At first glance, the answer is no, since he’s still supposedly suffering from a slight tear in his left leg (“a 1st degree injury in the adductor of his left thigh”). Marca has begun their fear campaign, claiming that if Messi plays either the Inter match or el clásico, he’s putting his leg at risk for the whole year, perhaps for his whole career. However, after reading in Sport that he’s not necessarily out, I visited the official site and got the previous quote from this article. It appears that the Marca fear-mongering is merely that: fear-mongering. Guardiola would never risk Messi if he were seriously injured or incapable of playing at the top level. It’s as simple as that. Given that he didn’t play Henry in Russia under similar circumstances, it would be folly to think he would play Messi for two matches if it meant losing Messi for the whole year. So, basically, Marca, you’re pure trash and you’ve proven yourself to be so once again. Congratulations.
So, here is our list of the knocked, or potentially knocked: Ibrahimovic, Puyol (sorta), Abidal, Keita, Txigrinski (sorta). This kind of sucks, given that two giNORMOUS matches loom in the coming week.
So what can we do to top that? I know, let’s add some H1N1 to the party. Why not? Abidal has been diagnosed with the mis-nomered “swine flu,” and The Yaya is suspected to have also contracted it. Now, “la gripe” is no biggie if properly treated, but you can rest assured that part of the medical plan for getting over it is not “Go play a crucial football match.”
Okay. My bag is already packed for Barcelona, that’s how geeked I am about this trip. I have two matches, the Inter Champions League and El Clasico.
Now who the hell am I going to be seeing for these matches?**
First off, let’s discuss the import:
If we lose against Inter and Rubin Kazan beat Dynamo Kyiv, we are out of the Champions League. Huge.
If we lost against the EE at home, we go down to them in the standings (presuming that we both win this weekend), and lose significant space in the psychological war that is a Liga season between the two giants.
I’m not customarily one of those “I told you so folks,” but when everyone was predicting destruction for Rubin Kazan, a few folks were cautious. Last year, when we were sweeping all before us, that prediction would have been easy. We would have wiped the floor with them. This year, in the wake of iffy team displays that have been bailed out by individual brilliance, we were ripe for the picking.
What did it take? A resolute team with absolutely nothing to lose, poor finishing on our part and two plays, both facilitated by a defender who has a contract on the table, but shouldn’t have been on the pitch.
This picture of Pedro! says it all. He was the beneficiary of our absolute best chance of the second half, a half filled with hope until it was cruelly snatched away by a casual stab at the ball by Bojan Krkic, who did a Busquets, directly into the path of an attacking Kazan player. The Yaya tried a sliding tackle ….
I can’t sleep, so rather than vexing my damsel with my tossing and turning, why not bang out a news report, in the wake of a busy day of World Cup qualifiers.
And guess who got whacked in the Spain/Armenia match? You guessed it; Andres Iniesta, the guy who must have gotten Gabi Milito’s injury luck. He took a whack to the exact same area that was already injured thrice over, and recovering very nicely, until Del Bosque decided “Hey, let’s see if I can totally hose over Barcelona’s chances for a successful season. If I can get their guys hurt, they’ll be available for training camp and stuff, all nice and early. Bet.”
As match-changing moments go, this one was huge. Thierry Henry’s thigh injury necessitated a substitution, and thankfully the healing powers of Zlatan Ibrahmovic had him ready and available for duty.
And we all know the rest, right?
But the important part about this match isn’t any refereeing, or missed decisions, or dirty plays. It’s about how we won, and that we rolled up man-style, returning dirty play by putting the ball in the back of the net.
It was a perfect match, played perfectly with a full team effort, and everybody doing what they were supposed to, then Rafa Marquez had to go and screw it up.
So, imagine this: Both clubs wind up tied at the end of the season, in the league and head-to-head, and it comes down to goal differential. We’ve given up 3 goals in two matches, none of which were supposed to be. Pardon my sounding like Guardiola after the 5-2 win vs Atletico Madrid, but this can’t happen.
“Oh, we’re still up by 3” is not a viable consideration, to my worldview.
Could Zlatan Ibrahimovic, shown here rocking his new coif, be considering retirement from international footy? Good question. What he said most recently is “That possibility will be considered after the World Cup finals. It is important for a player of my level to play internationals, but I’ve been to two European Championships and two World Cups.”
He wouldn’t be the first to start thinking about the wear and tear, and how it relates to his paying gig. Craven and self-serving? I’m sure that Sweden football fans would say yes. But this cule says “Yay!” (Which is always a vowel away from Yaya.)
Yes the picture is big, but not as big as the moment. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, our big-ass Swede, got off the mark by scoring the first of what should be many, many goals for Barca. It came off (yet another) exquisite Dani Alves cross that was deflected by Gregory, the omnipresent Gijon defender.
Watching the play develop, BANGS broke away from his defender into the space left on the uncovered back post and headed the ball in. Pretty easy goal, right?